Mark Childs, David Allard, Elaine Dawson: The big three marketing trends spied in Cannes

'Big ideas can make anyone feel small.'

By Campbell Company of Canada VP marketing, Mark Childs, senior brand manager, David Allard and assistant brand manager, Elaine Dawson

‘Big ideas can make anyone feel small.’

The theme for Cannes 2008 is also a great lens to filter our future industry trends over the next 15 years. Heading to Cannes, the shared focus for the two Campbell 2008 Marketing Creativity Award winners David Allard and Elaine Dawson and myself was to check our predictions against the global stage and to be inspired to raise our game. Before we left we did our homework in three areas.

1. Enter the Asian influence. This was highlighted at Cannes 2008 by Dentsu’s highly desirable Asian Diversity – Beyond the Great Wall posters that defiantly stayed glued to their locations. Agency and client seminars highlighted how creative in the region is improving, and how storytelling and humour are pushing advertising through boundaries by reflecting tangible experiences of daily life.

By even the most conservative immigration projections, the 2015 Asian Canadian population will surpass 15%; our prediction is that many more brands will build relationships and marketing campaigns with first-generation Asian immigrants. With Canada’s changing population and bias to multiculturalism, we have the opportunity to be far more leading edge, inclusive and award-winning.

2. Ambient media goes pop. Our second prediction has already created news this year with the Mentos ‘Make Art Pop’ campaign and our own recent Campbell and Canadian Association of Food Banks ‘Help Hunger Disappear’ campaign. Both are evidence that with a big idea, tried-and-true marketing tactics can still be fresh and interactive.

Cannes inspired further enthusiasm with the 7-Eleven Kwik-E-Mart (The Simpsons Movie) ‘makeover’ and HBO’s ‘Voyeur’ Promo Grand Prix win. It was evident from these examples that our ambient definition should be expanded to integrate traditional and new media.

3. A new CSR. Met by screening audience whistles, few brand or corporate image ads at Cannes successfully integrated social and brand messaging. Standouts were those with humility and entertainment value, such as Smart Car’s ‘Gas can blues’ from Switzerland. Bringing the plight of unused gas cans to life with great music shows there are creative ways of communicating sustainability without shots of forests or the more conventional pull-on-the-heartstrings approach.

What we saw in Cannes clearly illustrates that it is the talent behind an idea that will shape our industry’s future. With that thought, we may have missed a fourth trend: the ‘Who.’

Mark, David and Elaine’s pick: Gen Y

Rather than spotlighting any one person, we predict a generation: those in their early 20s starting their careers, ambitious for their first big idea. They are often misunderstood and criticized for their lack of work ethic, but this is counter to our experience with the ever-resilient and passionate Gutter Bar crowd in Cannes. If we want to celebrate future Canada Grand Prix wins, we must continue to inspire this next wave of talent. After all, who wants to feel small?

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